Parenting 101

Kidding. There is no ‘Parenting 101’. If parenting was written like a manual – if that were even remotely possible – it would not only be the easiest job/role to do in the world, but it would also probably lack in how rewarding the experience would be.

There’s no manual, no instructions and most advice will not work outside the ‘this is how you test if the bath temperature isn’t too hot’ – mainly, it’s about a lot of listening, thinking, communicating and using one’s gut instincts to navigate around obstacles and much growing pains (for both child and parent alike).

Personally, I also rely on my own experience. I try, really, really try (with many failed attempts along the way) to remember what it was like to be my daughter’s age. Ahh… it’s so not as easy as it sounds. Believe me I get more non-parents who think they have the answers of ‘how they would do it’ but until one becomes a parent, they do not realize many answers are not as black and white as they appear. And being an aunt/uncle does not count. Most parents I know understand this – and all they can do is nod with empathy. They may share their own story if they have a similar one to whatever problem I may be facing but it comes with the unspoken words, ‘take what you can get from my story… and good luck!’

Being a parent of a teen girl – and never having the experience of raising a teen – I’ve REALLY had to search back down memory lane to remember all the emotions I went through as a teen. What I have discovered is that being a teen is a bitch. I’ve triggered so many emotions – a roller coaster of them. Oh I am so glad being a teen is just one phase in my life. While I do have some great memories, there are many other eras of my life I’d rather live through again (all of them being past my teen years).

An area I am treading carefully with at the moment, well… is a teen’s love life. I recall how strict my parents were with me. First, I was not allowed to have a boyfriend until I was at least 18 years old.

So what did I do? I had a boyfriend at 14, 15 and 17. They didn’t know any of them because I knew they would not approve.

Then as I approached 18 and was about to prepare myself to tell them about my then boyfriend, I was told I had to wait until I was in university. Seriously?

So what did I do next? I would sneak out at 2am to meet my secret boyfriend.

My mom also told me not to have sex until I was married.

Yeah, well… that wasn’t going to take. While I was still technically a virgin, I definitely was sexually active. I lost my virginity in my early 20’s.

One thing I learned from my own experience growing up as a teen – there’s just such things a parent can not control. We can place rules, curfews and expectations (which really amount to teaching our daughter what team work involves in our household – we all pull our own weight). But to tell them not to have a boyfriend/girlfriend is like asking them to never have a crush or attraction. To tell them when they can be sexually active is like us trying to control their bodies.

My daughter’s friends have extremely strict parents. For example, one of them is not allowed to invite boys over. EVER. Even while the parents are home. So, the daughter does not invite any boys over. However, her parents probably have no idea she has had a boyfriend for most the school year. Even I know who he is (my daughter tells me everything in confidence). I mind my own business. There you have it though. I would prefer not only to know my daughter has a boyfriend – but also have him come over to our house so I can meet him and get to know him. Home advantage is an advantage for a reason.

I am not stupid – I see the stubbornness in my daughter. She comes by it honestly from both my husband and myself. She is strong-minded and she’s going to make her own decisions as she sees fit.

And so I decided to do whatever I can to keep the communication open – I figured so long as she’s aware of the risks she is taking when she decides to have a serious boyfriend, when she decides to be sexually active, etc., she will hopefully make the best decision for her. Much of it in then end involves a bit of faith. And maybe a prayer or two.

As a parent, it’s not even about worrying whether or not she will practice safer sex. My hope is for her emotions to be protected. I want her to be doing it purely for herself and I hope her first time will not be regretted in anyway. Sure I’d rather her wait – isn’t it ideal to wait until one is in love with their partner? It’s not necessary – but personally, it’s what is preferred.

But… I can’t control her future. Just like my parents could not control mine.

Advertisements

It’s Official – I’ve Lost My Mind

 

Oh. My. GOD!!!

So I just emailed this private dance studio not far from my work place. I’ve been searching for hip-hop classes for my daughter and I’ve found a lot of these private dance studios that not only do hip-hop but dabble in k-pop hip-hop.

The only challenge was finding most places create ‘teams’ for actual amateur dance competitions.

Heeeell NO!!! So not what she is looking for! She just wants to do this for fun.

This studio has a drop-in class schedule with classes ranging from Level 0 to Level 2. Obviously, Level 0 meant for beginners. Though I have an inkling it’s not going to be filled with beginners. As always, you’re going to find a class filled with a variety of levels depending how long people have been dropping in on said class. Still, you can either pay as you go ($15 per class) or buy 12, 24, 48 classes per card, thereby saving more money in the end. I’m sure there’s a time limit. For example, all 12 classes must be taken within a 6 month period. It’s still promising though – there’s at least 2 or 3 beginner classes each week to choose from. And it allows some flexibility with our schedule.

It peaked my curiosity, alright? And you know what they say. Curiosity killed the Cat.

I’m not saying I’m going to die. But my body is not like what it used to be so. So yeah. I’ve decided I’m going to do this with my daughter.

I’m both excited and nervous. More excited than nervous. I mean, if history should repeat itself, I’ve often been able to catch on with new choreography. The nervousness is just based on the fact I have not taken any dance classes for so long. The last time I did was to learn Latin Ballroom.

Of course, I’ll update my progress here but – wish me luck! My daughter will not have time to do this until after her science project is done and she really wants us to do this together! I think it will be fun. 🙂

Recognizing Proud Moments

As a parent, as a Chinese parent, I’ve been raised to put a lot of emphasis on academia. It’s in my blood – it’s natural. Even though I was born and raised here in Canada, that part was ingrained into me – albeit I’m a more water-down version of my parents.

And I do put emphases on academia. I have. Quite a bit. To the point where I find myself getting anxious over my daughter’s grades. I realized I needed to chill out a bit, though. While it’s still my job to ensure she is doing well in school (i.e. performing well, not failing, being respectful to peers and teachers, etc.) I also did not want to pass my anxieties on to her. She is becoming her own person and needs to take her own accountability on such matters. It’s a work in progress – I’m not perfect and I slip back to old habits. More than I would like to admit.

There are, as I have discovered many times in my near 14 years of raising her, moments that have nothing to do with academia but still, I find myself in awe with how much she surprises me – and how much she makes me proud.

Over the weekend, her and I were talking. And yes, of course it was about k-pop. And of course it was about her favorite idols. These days it seems most of our conversations start with k-pop though it may end elsewhere only to return to k-pop.

A friend of her at school was saying how she would not be happy if she found out her idol was gay simply because she respects her idol so much, if they are gay, then she would feel let down.

Yeah. Pretty homophobic statement. I am not completely surprised though. It’s a private school and a LOT of the parents are ultra-conservative and not open to accepting different lifestyles than their own. Which makes it difficult for me to make new friends among them. I am the black sheep, after all. I’m THAT parent. Whom doesn’t bat an eye if I find my daughter using curse words (we’ve talked about it – I tell her I don’t mind so long as she is responsible with how she uses curse words). I’m the one that sends her daughter beautiful photos of her bias, Kim Taehyung just to torture her for my amusement. And I’m that parent who wouldn’t care if her child comes out one day to me, stating she is gay or bisexual, etc. I’ve always told her such things do not matter to me or her father so long as she is happy and not hurting herself or anyone else. We’ve always done our best to raise her with a good heart and not to judge others on such things – because what is there to judge?

I’m that parent. In a world where we are increasingly becoming more progressive and open, it’s amazing that in a big city such as Toronto, I’m still finding myself, in such moments, as the minority. Why is that?

Anyway – so my daughter said she had a disagreement with said friend. She tried to reason with her but the disagreement started to escalate so my daughter dropped it. It was in class and she didn’t want to start a heated and loud argument.

So here’s where I can breakdown how proud I felt:

  1. She was confident with her stance.
  2. She tried to reason with her friend.
  3. She did not let her friend, whom she cares for dearly, to sway her beliefs.
  4. When the situation started to escalate, she knew when to bow out and keep the peace.
  5. She came to me and told me about this conversation – not to be praised but just to share with me what happened between her and her friend.

I would like to say I am responsible for her level of maturity. Because even as an adult, I don’t think I could have kept as level headed as she did. That was all her.

Better Than Coffee

My daughter looked extra sleepy today as we stood waiting for our Starbucks order.

So I showed her this…

 

She nearly started to cry. But hey… at least it woke her up! 🙂

And might I say, Mr. Kim Taehyung is quite the flirt!

Some one please stop him… like, now.

Becoming a Writer

No, I’m not talking professionally. And yes, writing in my blog is a lot of fun. But it’s becoming more and more apparent my blog is not quenching my creative thirst.

I have a big imagination. And my dreams do not help – they in fact, fuel my wild mind even further. And after awhile, I need some sort of release. By the way, I have very vivid dreams – and I remember a lot of them.

Will I ever go public with my future fiction? I don’t know. To be honest – and I was having this discussion with my daughter who is too hard on herself when it comes to being creative, even though she loves being creative – when it comes to creativity, whether through the medium of a pen+paper, an art brush+canvas or perhaps even one’s hands+clay, it should feel GOOD. I want her to understand it’s more about making herself happy than others.

It’s the same for me – I find my time is being pulled too much towards work. I am starting to neglect myself and my personal interest. I really want to make 2018 about exploring my creative outlet.

What are some of the things you do on your spare time to help you relax? Especially in the creative area?